Marc Garneau, Technology, the Web

by Hugh

MARC GARNEAU - Westmount--Ville-Marie

For some reason, I got contacted by Liberal Marc Garneau’s campaign (he’s running against Anne LagacĂ©-Dowson in a federal by-election in Wesmount-Ville Marie). They emailed me because I occasionally write political stuff on this blog, and invited me to an event. I said, probably not, but what does Marc think of the Conservatives new copyright bill, Bill C-61? They said, why not come have a meeting with Marc, and you can talk about it. So I said yes.

The interview got off to a slow start but Mr. Garneau did say this was his, and the Liberal’s policy:
-C-61 should be scrapped
-public consultations should be done
-and a brand new Bill should be drafted
-“personal use” should have more protection

But he told me something interesting: He has had more mail and communication from constituents about C-61 than any other issue in the election.

And so I wondered, Why, if copyright is the topic that he has heard more about than any other, is there not a single mention of C-61 on his web site? I emailed him afterwards to ask that, and, Lo, here is his statement:

The government’s new copyright bill, introduced on June 11, 2008, is a very important matter for the student, business and cultural communities in Canada. The effects of any major revision of our Copyright Law will be far reaching and serious for both communities. With the stakes so high, it is critical that the right balance is found.

Does Bill C-61 strike the correct balance? Should it be approved by Parliament?

These questions cannot be answered without first holding extensive consultations with stake holders, and in this case, all Canadians are stake holders. All Canadians have a stake in the outcome of the examination of Bill C-61, either as creators or as consumers of intellectual property…[more…]

UPDATE: Which, as Daniel points out below, says little about what the Liberals think the legislation should be, or where it’s major flaws are. And god knows their history on Copyright isn’t stellar.

We went on to talk about technology and innovation, and that’s where Garneau got animated, and convincing. He’s been an astronaut, the head of the Canadian Space Agency, and lead author of the Report on Science and Technology, written for the Liberal Renewal Commission.

I particularly pressed him on information and communications technology, where I feel that Canada has dropped dismally by the wayside in the past 15 years, compared with, say, Finland, which has gone in the other direction. He got excited talking about Nokia, and excellence, and defining a clear set of objectives and getting all of Canada behind them. That gave me some hope. Garneau is an tech guy, and he gets it.

Mind you, Anne’s got Corey.

[Incidentally, what the hell is wrong with the Liberal party’s web design team? What is this, 1996? How hard would it be for the Liberals to provide a decent site template for all their candidates instead of this dog’s breakfast design with a static html “blog,” no RSS, and numerous other crimes against the Internet. Reminds me of that line from Sate and Main: “It looks like Edith Head puked, and the puke designed that website.” UPDATE: seems candidates make their own sites, so the question is: What’s wrong with Marc’s design team?]